RIP, Sidekick. T-Mobile's once-beloved e-mail phone will finally die on May 31, when T-Mobile and Microsoft pull the plug on the specialized data service that delivers Web pages, e-mails, and apps to the Sidekick line.
"It was a joint decision reached by Microsoft and T-Mobile," T-Mobile spokesman Tom Harlin said. "We think it's a natural order for products to be replaced by newer technology, and we've announced there will be a 4G-enabled, Android-powered Sidekick."
But here's the catch: Harlin refused to commit to releasing the new Sidekick before May 31, saying only that "in terms of the next Sidekick, we'll have more information in the coming weeks."
Originally known as the Danger Hiptop, the T-Mobile Sidekick was a huge breakthrough for affordable, easy-to-use messaging phones when it first came out in 2002. Seven more models came out through 2009, and the Sidekick built a reputation as a popular messaging solution for young people with prepaid accounts. T-Mobile stopped selling the Sidekick last July.
A few months ago, Microsoft introduced the ill-fated smartphone called the Kin. The small feature phone was available on Verizon in two different form factors, and was then canceled faster than any other phone before. It became known as the least successful smartphone ever. Yet, a recent leak of a Verizon internal communication suggests that both devices are coming back to Verizon soon. But this may not be such a bad move. There was nothing wrong with a Kin perse, as the device felt solid, and it was fully integrated with social networks, as a modern feature phone should be. The main issue was that it was sold by Verizon as a full smartphone, with expensive data plans, when it shouldn't have been. According to the leaked papers however, it seems that Verizon may be willing to change their tune on that point. Will this make the Kin a success, or is it's time passed already? We'll see soon enough.
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Verizon Wireless has confirmed that they will not be one of the carriers of Microsoft’s product when Windows Phone 7 launches in just a few weeks. While the Kin’s lack of any commercial viability led Verizon to stop carrying the product a mere few weeks after launch, Verizon and Microsoft’s relationship is reportedly intact. This leaves AT&T as the flagship carrier, as no others are known at this point. We’ll see at the launch if Windows Phone 7 can compete with the iPhone on its platform, and whether or not Verizon sitting out of the launch fray will have any negative impact on the success of WP7.